Longmont City Council reviews water supply, drought management plans – Longmont

Longmont needs to do more to get its residents and businesses to use less water, a resident told City Council on Tuesday night.

Ruby Bowman, who lives on Lefthand Drive, called on the city to consider adopting incentives for reducing water consumption and to slow down or halt Longmont’s growth.

“Limit development in Longmont,” Bowman said during the public-invited-to-be-heard call-in opportunity at Tuesday night’s study session. “Put a cap on our population.”

Council members, as is their policy, did not immediately react to Bowman’s comments, but later during the meeting, Councilman Tim Waters disagreed with the city halting new residential development, particularly homes that would be affordable for low- and middle-income individuals and families to rent or buy.

During a discussion of the status and results of Longmont’s housing affordability policies and laws, Waters said “that certainly is not going to put us where we want” to be in having housing availability “for young and working families” to be able to live in Longmont rather than commuting here from other areas.

Bowman also suggested the city consider offering rebates from Longmont’s budget to help people afford installing low-water-use areas outside their homes or replace the high-water-use grass and plants that are outside those homes now. She said Longmont also should increase the amount the city charges developers who do not have adequate city-required water rights when they are annexed into Longmont, a fee in lieu of providing the necessary water rights.

Councilwoman Susie Hidalgo-Fahring, while not endorsing Bowman’s call to stop Longmont’s growth, did indicate later in the meeting that some of Bowman’s suggestions, such as the idea of rebates, appeared to be worth further Council discussion at a future point.

That came during a Council discussion of the Water Supply and Drought Management Plan the city Water Board and staff have recommended for 2021 and 2022.

That plan, in its current form, does not project any drought to be so severe as to have major impacts on the Longmont community’s water supply sources and storage, staff reported, so no conservation mandates were proposed for imposition later this year or in 2022.

“We’re not recommending right now” that Longmont impose any water-use restrictions, Deputy City Manager Dale Rademacher told Council. “We don’t want to put a mandatory restriction in place until it’s really needed.”

Instead, the plan will have Longmont stay at what it calls a “stable conservation level” that isn’t expected to exceed the amounts of water needed to supply those 2021 and 2022 needs.

Council members voted 6-0 to accept the Water Supply and Drought Management Plan and its provisions. Mayor Brian Bagley, the seventh voting member, did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

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